I’m Sorry.

Wow. I said it, I’m sorry.

Despite a little hit to my ego and the fraction of a second it takes to type or utter these two words, it doesn’t really cost anything to say, “I’m sorry.” Not saying them, however, can cost thousands even millions of dollars, split up marriages, drive wedges in families, and result in years of litigation.

It seems to me that as a culture we’ve adopted a hard stance against the two words, and when someone humbly utters them it’s newsworthy. Last week Jim Joyce made headlines when he apologized to Armando Galarraga for blowing a call, which instantly destroyed Galarraga’s perfect game. He said the magic words, I’m sorry-I screwed up.

Jim Joyce and Armando Galarraga making up

Somewhere between little league and the big league we get out of practice of apology. We build better justifications, bigger blame, and less frequently simply say sorry.

Jeremy Floyd

Jeremy Floyd is the President at FUNYL Commerce. Formerly, he was the CEO and President of Lirio, Bluegill Creative, a marketing and communications firm in Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition to managing the digital strategies, Floyd was an adjunct professor for the University of Tennessee Chattanooga MBA program teaching digital strategies and social media. Floyd blogs at jeremyfloyd.com and tweets under the name @jfloyd. Jeremy is licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee and holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from MTSU in English and Philosophy.

  • I’ve been typing all morning and my hands are sore-y.

  • Like the new blog better. Looking forward to more posts that I am interested in. Not that business wasn’t so exciting, but, I am just a mom you know.

  • And I am really good at saying I am sorry. Just ask LeGrand. You get really good at it when you tend to stick your foot in your mouth on a daily basis.

  • It is amazing how far a little honesty can take your business. We are in a day of accountability. Many out there are quick to make someone else accountable for things but when that one person stands up and takes ownership of any screw up, says “I’m sorry”, then people take notice. Those simple words will do wonders for instilling trust in your brand.

  • Nice article and good points. I will add, there are also who use the word as a means of temporary settlement. Only to repeatedly make the same violation repeatedly. It is then, where I personally would rather just not hear those two words, but notice a change.

  • PS, Like the new blog Jeremy and to be reading such engaging material.

  • @Alice – I think that is part of marriage… a practice in apology.

    @Brian – Yes, I have immense respect for Motrin, Comcast, Southwest for their ability to apologize.

    @Jesse – To Brian’s point, I think we are seeing a “mitigated” corporate apology right now. BP has said the words, but the people of the US don’t think they’re doing enough.

    On a personal level, I always think of “repentance” with a similar meaning as an apology. Repentance means turning away; if we apologize and “turn” from the behavior that initiated the action we are genuine. If not, it’s just lip service.

  • In agreement with Alice, I’m not to keen on business acumen.

    “I’m Sorry” is making oneself vulnerable, I think. The Marlboro man existence, I don’t need nobody and screw you if you don’t like me and what I stand for, puts a person in a hard shell.

    If we self-protect, then we cannot give ourselves to others. Being apologetic is an entrance into humility.

  • Jeremy,

    You are dead on. But our government and companies are made up of and run by people. So, typically, the personal level of morals of the powers that be will reflect in the corporate and governmental environments. Funny, I said repeatedly twice in the same sentence. I would like to say I was being clever, but I wasn’t.

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